By David Fleet
Groveland Twp.- The township may soon be considering a growing marijuana manufacturing and cultivation facilities.
In recent township meetings, Bob DePalma, township supervisor has opened discussions of a proposal that would allow marijuana grow facilities in specific zoned industrial areas of the community. The business would provided significant revenues for the township without marijuana retail outlets, he added.
“It’s an excellent way to generate some revenue and not get exposed to some of the other problems,” said DePalma. “All of the other supervisors that I have spoken to that have (marijuana) retail outlets, that’s where the complaints have come in. Everyone that I have spoken to about the grow facility has been positive about the facility and the impact on the community.”
DePalma recently visited a grow and manufacturing facility in Orion Township, 163 Premier Drive, under the umbrella of the Oakland Business Park. Opened in 2018, it’s being billed as a one-of-a-kind development that can potentially create hundreds of jobs in the cannabis industry.
Orion Township Supervisor Chris Barnett said when the community first considered marijuana facilities the township board was nervous.
“We considered it’s (marijuana) now legal in Michigan,” he said. “While there’s demand for the products continues to grow, it’s also a tool for business and revenue. For Orion Township, we needed a police station and we did not want to raise taxes to fund it. So, we hosted two public hearings for the marijuana facilities and honestly we did not know what to expect. However, we did not get any feedback, negative or positive, just a few questions.”
Barnett said the township crafted marijuana ordinances that were very strict in regard to regulations.
“We emphasized no point-of-sale, no signs on the street to identify the business, the buildings must be on a road with less than 6,000 vehicles per day and the company must obtain a Class C licence, the highest requirements for LARA (Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs).”
Since the first facility was built and operating Glorious Cannabis Company, seven other companies have been approved including a $40 million development that will consist of three buildings and will have marijuana growers, processors, secure transporters and safety compliance tenants.
“The facilities are very secure and the companies have invested millions, so they don’t want to risk loosing a permit,” he said. “They want to stay in business given a hefty investment.”
Barnett said it’s been a good thing for the community with 26 licences issued producing $130,000 per year for township coffers.
DePalma said the township will consider the Orion Township ordnance.
“The marijuana grow companies do not qualify for a tax exemption,” said DePalma. “Besides the money for any of the permits they receive, the two facilities in Lake Orion generate about $40 million in additional tax base. That’s the type of business that adds money to the township budget but adds three and a half times that money to the fire department. If we want to fix things (financially) long term, you can’t do it in a township where 40 percent (of the property) is owned by the State of Michigan or county, and we are not getting the money to do ‘diddley-jack’ with. You either have to get it from the residents or some sort of business district.”